The use of gamification in xMOOCs about energy: Effects and predictive models for participants’ learning

Keywords: MOOCs, gamification in education, gamified challenge, higher education, teaching methods


Open access education has significantly grown in strength as a new way of fostering innovation in schools. Such is the case of massive open online courses (MOOCs), which have the added benefit of encouraging the democratisation of learning. In this sense, the Bi-National Laboratory on Smart Sustainable Energy Management and Technology Training between Mexico and the United States of America was launched with the purpose of trying MOOC technology and measuring its impact on the academic, business, and social sectors. Under this scenario, this study aimed to show the relationship between using gamification and level of performance in a MOOC on energy topics. The methodology was quantitative, using the course analytical data for socio-demographic information and predictive models. A total of 6246 participants enrolled in the MOOC and 1060 finished it. The results showed that participants aged between 20 and 50 had the highest completion rates in the gamified challenge; the higher academic degree, the more inclined participants were to solve the gamified challenge; and no such distinction exists by gender.


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Author Biographies

Elvira G Rincon Flores, 1.Tecnológico de Monterrey 2.GRoup of Interaction And e-Learning (GRIAL)
Elvira G. Rincon Flores has a  PhD  from Salamanca University, Spain. Currently, she is a professor of Mathematics at the School of Engineering and Information Technology of the Tecnológico de Monterrey.  She participates in the "Binational Laboratory on Smart Sustainable Energy Management and Technology Education" with the subproject "Open, interdisciplinary and collaborative innovation to train in energy sustainability through MOOC", with the study: "Challenge-based gamification in massive open innovation environments in the area of energy sustainability" as her doctoral thesis project. She belongs to the research group in educational innovation of the Tecnológico de Monterrey. Email:
Juanjo Mena, 1. University of Salamanca 2. Kazan Federal University, Russia

is an associate professor in the department of Education at the University of Salamanca (USAL, Spain). He completed his Master’s degree (with honors) in the Department of Developmental & Educational Psychology in 2004. He obtained his PhD with distinction and special mention of “European Doctor” in 2007. He is currently Treasurer and National Representative of the ISATT. His research focuses on Teaching Practice, Teacher Education, Mentoring, Teacher Development and ICT. He has been a visiting scholar in a number of universities in The Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Finland and Mexico (Tecnológico de Monterrey, Monterrey). He also spent 5 years as a classroom teacher before joining USAL as full time professor.

María Soledad Ramírez Montoya, Tecnológico de Monterrey
holds a  PhD in Philosophy and Education Sciences from the University of Salamanca. Her research lines are focused on teaching strategies, technological resources for education, training of educational researchers and the open educational movement. She is a head of graduate studies and continuous education and head researcher of the School of Humanities and Education (EHE) of the Tecnológico de Monterrey (Mexico) in the master's and PhD education programs. She is director of the UNESCO Chair: "Open Educational Movement for Latin America", director of the International Council for Open Education and Distance Education (ICDE): OER Latin America, head researcher of the Strengthening Information Society Research Capacity Alliance (SIRCA) network, main organizer of the Latin American Open Regional Network of Social and Educational Research (CLARISE) and coordinator of the "Research and Innovation in Education" research group of the Tecnológico de Monterrey. She is a member of the National System of Researchers in Mexico. She participates in the "Binational Laboratory on Smart Sustainable Energy Management and Technology Education" as responsible for the subproject "Open, interdisciplinary and collaborative innovation to train in energy sustainability through MOOCs", with activities of coordination of the team of researchers, PhD thesis advisor and scientific and academic production on the project.
Raul Ramirez Velarde, Tecnológico de Monterrey
holds a PhD from Tecnológico de Monterrey. He has done research in collaborative distributed systems, information technology architecture and infrastructure engineering, computer graphics and animation, and networked multimedia. He has also been consultant to several important firms and several agencies of Nuevo Leon’s government. He is a member of the National Accreditation Council for Information Technology (CONAIC) and member of the directorate board of the National Association of Information Technology Institutions (ANIEI). His main research areas are modelling chaotic systems under uncertainty, creating novel learning experiences for engineering students, and performing data science analysis and optimization with scalable algorithms.